Fear

Does God Love My Body?

I’m half-crouched on grass at the base of a wood pile. As an eleven-year-old, I take care of the chickens in the nearby coop. I’m sucking in breaths, and so is my little sister as we stumble over the knobs of black walnuts fallen from the tree above and make occasional lunges at the pile. […]

How Truth-Telling Overcomes Shame

In my mid-twenties, a fabulously handsome and wealthy man pursued me. He picked me up in his Jaguar, took me to expensive restaurants, and always called the next day to express how much he enjoyed our time together. While I appreciated the attention and affirmation, I felt somewhat ambivalent because I knew I was working overtime […]

Waiting in the Graveyard

In the first half of 2017, I was restless. I’d left my job as a teacher the previous year to write full time and though I’d written countless words, nothing seemed to be going anywhere. My blog was still a regular thing, but the book I thought I had in me wasn’t taking shape. There […]

Why Bad Self-Care Is a Kind of Sin

“This author really pissed me off,” I told my husband the other day. I brandished a book called Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, by Andrew Santella. My anger surprised my husband. He enjoys a heated debate while I tend to shy away from black-and-white argument. But this book? I ranted about it for fifteen […]

Peace in the Time of My Storms

“I trusted God as much as I believed possible, trusting more in my misplaced confidence in my own capacity to have cost me dearly.

What did I learn? God is sovereign; I am an idiot.” 

Our Hope Rises Higher

Surveying the damage, they can’t imagine life again after the storm. They can’t yet see the trees that will grow to replace those pulled up by their roots. They can’t picture anything flourishing again in this place of devastation. *** Looking out at the endless sea of cars sitting on the interstate, I felt restless […]

Invocation to the Night I Drowned

I am the panic attack that upended your entire life. I am the storm you could never remember seeing but always felt. I am removing this identity from you like I have many times before. I am going to grow in you yet a new one as I have always done before. I am not […]

When a New Diagnosis Brings a Storm

If I had ever been skydiving, I would know about the wind having its way with you. I could tell you, no problem, that when you’re turned topsy-turvy in an earth-less void, up and down become abstractions, not facts to orient yourself by. You lose your bearings. But I am the last person on earth […]

When Hospitality is Radical

  She pauses, the doorbell’s eerie reverberations beat a note of panic through her veins. She wipes her hands on the linen apron wrapped around her and hurries to tell them to hide themselves in the basement or attic.   She breathes deeply, realizes this is the moment she and her husband have talked about, […]

Minnie Vautrin: Staring Down Death

“The city is strangely silent—after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past—that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the fourth is still before us—our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect . . […]

The Rightness of Clothes

You know that thing where you show up for a fashion show in such amazing clothes that the photographers there assume you’re Someone Famous and photograph you? But actually you’re a sixty-something Fordham social work professor and just have really fabulous taste? And because of that photo shoot, you become a fashion icon, model, and […]

Free to Be Me

  It’s been awhile since I’ve experienced it: vulnerability hangover. It’s a term Brene Brown coined for that feeling of, “Did I just share too much? Is she going to think I’m way too much of a mess?” It’s enough to make you throw up a little. But I felt that vulnerability hangover the other […]